Fans Want This Underdog Bachelorette Contestant to Be the Bachelor

Season 16 contestants on 'The Bachelorette'

ABC/Craig Sjodin Season 16 contestants on 'The Bachelorette'

Joe Park hasn’t been the apple of either Bachelorette‘s eye. While Clare Crawley had Dale Moss tunnel vision and Tayshia Adams has preferred others like Brendan Morais and Zac Clark so far, Park hasn’t gone unnoticed by fans of The Bachelorette.

There’s even a budding campaign to have Joe Park be cast as lead of season 26 of The Bachelor.

Park, 36, has had little on-screen time so far, but he’s made the most of those brief appearances. In the premiere, he charmed Crawley with an origami display that came complete with a “Joe the fox” figure. While he was subsequently lost to the background during the Crawley-Moss love story, Park shared the hilarious jokes he made at a comedy roast date that were left on the cutting room floor.

In episode six, Park finally got a little more face time. His wit and sense of humor, combined with his kind spirit pushed Bachelor Nation’s love for Joe to an all-time high.

All Aboard the Joe for Bachelor 2022 Train

Joe Park and Tayshia Adams

ABCJoe Park shows off his guitar skills to Tayshia Adams during a cocktail party on The Bachelorette.

Episode six largely centered around a conflict between contestant Chasen Nick and Ed Waisbrot, who battled each other over Chasen’s true intentions. The feud started during one group date extended into a cocktail party on another day and then again into a second group date.

With so much attention revolving around Chasen and Ed butting heads, it’s impressive that Joe was still able to stand out so much during the episode.

When the “Grown Ass Man Challenge” and wrestling-themed group dates had every other contestant beating their chest at the chance to show off strength, Park’s self-deprecating sense of humor was a welcomed change of pace. He wasn’t afraid to admit that he was a little terrified when he found he’d be wrestling former NFL receiver Eazy Nwachukwu. (a match he lost handily).

“It sucks to lose, but I’m a lover; not a fighter,” Park said.

Twitter is in love.

With Matt James already filming the upcoming 25th season of The Bachelor, Park’s chance at leading the show can’t come until at least 2022. That leaves a lot of time for other stars to emerge, especially if Bachelor in Paradise returns next year, as planned. Park may need to make a Paradise appearance himself to secure his place, a lot to ask for the Brooklyn-based anesthesiologist.

The Bachelor Franchise Has a Lot of Catching up to Do Regarding Diversity

Matt James will be the first Black man to be the lead on The Bachelor. That season will air shortly after Tayshia Adams finishes her role as only the second Black woman to lead The Bachelorette.

It’s a change of pace for a franchise that has egregiously lacked diversity in its casting. Rachel Lindsay, the first Black woman to be The Bachelorette, even went so far as to tell AfterBuzz that the Bachelor franchise was “embarrassing to be affiliated with” due to the absence of people of color on the shows.

When James was cast as The Bachelor, Lindsay applauded the decision, but added a caveat.

“I would be remiss to not point out that based on the current climate, it feels like a knee-jerk reaction and a result of societal pressure,” Lindsay tweeted. “This announcement, without any further commitments regarding diversity, sweepingly brushes deeper issues under the rug.”

Other networks have made those kind of long-term commitments. Earlier in November, CBS announced it has “set a target of 50 percent representation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color across all casts for unscripted shows.” That came after criticism of the way people of color have been portrayed and targeted on Survivor and Big Brother.

While ABC and The Bachelor have taken steps toward inclusion in 2020, they have not set (publicly, at least) any kind of target of their own for casting. What the franchise does after Tayshia and Matt have both awarded their final roses will be watched closely. And that means a lot of eyes will be on how it handles Park, a Korean-American fan favorite who could be the franchise’s first ever lead of Asian descent.

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